Kansas Highway Patrol talks safety to prevent roadside accidents

A Hutchinson man was killed on I-35 in Oklahoma on Tuesday. Investigators say Shane Miller stopped to help a person change a tire on the side of the highway.

That’s when an SUV hit Miller and a 17-year-old from Texas, killing them instantly. It’s these kinds of roadside accidents that Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Chad Crittenden says are more common than you might think.

“They definitely are, terribly unfortunate anytime we have a pedestrian outside of their vehicle being struck by a car or a truck,” said Crittenden. Which is why Crittenden says drivers need to be vigilant when driving down Kansas roadways.

“It only takes one second for your vehicle to drift off the side of the roadway and if someone is outside of their vehicle changing a tire, you know, picking something up, anything, it can be very tragic,” said Crittenden. Crittenden says they have five to ten troopers out at one time patrolling the metro area.

During the extremely hot and cold months, Crittenden says they are on the lookout for cars and motorists that are stuck on the side of the road. “Our main focus really is to make sure we can help stranded motorists out here and get them off the roadway and get them the help that they need,” said Crittenden.

Which is why he offers some advice if you find yourself in that situation. “If at all possible if the vehicle still has power to it we recommend that you turn your emergency flashers on, if you’re on the interstate or highway anywhere in Kansas, you can dial *47 or *HP, that’ll get you to the Kansas Highway Patrol dispatch,” said Crittenden.

Crittenden says that’ll help get a trooper or even a Motorist Assist Unit to where you are to help and get you quickly back out on the road.

As for advice to drivers, Crittenden urges them to pay attention when they are driving and avoid distractions.

Crittenden says there is no Kansas law for vehicles to slow down or move over for the general public, like there is for emergency vehicles.

However, he advises drivers to do so, that way if an emergency were to happen, they could slow down and stop if possible.

Records don’t break down how many pedestrians are killed by cars on the highway each year, but we do know how many pedestrians die annually.

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, 24 pedestrians were killed by cars in 2015 and nearly 400 were injured.

There were more than 53-hundred pedestrians killed in the United States during 2015.

That’s the highest number since 1996.

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